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Zito hoping this isn't final year with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- After this season, Barry Zito and the Giants could be involved in an activity they wouldn't have imagined before last year: Retaining the left-hander for an additional season, or even negotiating an extension with him.

Zito's reversal in 2012, when he finished 15-8 and added two more victories in the postseason, has created the possibility that the Giants might want him to stick around longer.

Zito and the Giants have reached the seventh and final year of his $126 million contract, which crests this season with a $20 million salary. Zito's performance this season will determine whether the Giants pick up an $18 million option on his services for 2014. They also can buy him out for $7 million.

Zito spent 2007-11 posting a 43-61 record with a 4.55 ERA. But even Giants general manager Brian Sabean acknowledged keeping Zito beyond this year is within the realm of possibility.

"Pitchers that stay in shape, especially left-handers, seem to have ways to reinvent themselves," Sabean said.

Said Zito, "This is where I want to be. I would love to play baseball in San Francisco until I'm happy riding off into the sunset."